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Zach Mickelson

Young Hunter Spotlight
Zach Mickelson

Zach shot this 320 bull this fall on public land in New Mexico. We called the bull off his bed at 10 a.m., convincing him we were a small bull that had come between him and some of his cows. This happened after a two-hour stalk that brought us to within less than 100 yards of the dozing animal. Zach made a perfect 45-yard shot as the bull began trotting away. He placed the 7mm 120-grain Barnes TSX bullet directly behind the shoulder, and it exited out the windpipe. The bull didn’t go 20 yards before dropping for good.

As the bull came off his bed, he was literally screaming with rage. He ran to the other side of the juniper bush Zach was hiding behind, less than 20 yards from the animal. After bugling directly at Zach, the bull turned and began to run off. Our guide Chris called, mimicking a cow elk. At that, the bull came around the bush for another peek. He spotted Zach kneeling there, and started trotting away. That’s when Zach fired.

I’m highly impressed with the effectiveness of the TSX bullet and the wound channel it created. It was nice to be able to have Zach load up a lighter bullet with reduced recoil. That made it so he wasn’t afraid of the gun, yet he still had confidence in the bullet and its abilities. Zach was 11 years old when he shot the bull.

His first kill was a turkey he shot this spring, when he was still 10. It had an 8-inch beard and weighed 19 pounds. I called the gobbler in for him. When it got within 25 yards, I thought Zach had a clean shot. I started whispering, “Shoot ‘im, shoot ‘im.” Zach just kept waiting and waiting, which was killing me. The tom went behind the last big tree, and Zach swung the gun around, shooting him in the head as he emerged from behind the tree. The gobbler was just 14 yards away.

Zach turned to me and said, “That was a bad shot you were trying to get me to take, Dad.”

Sure enough, when I moved two feet to where he’d been sitting, I could see it would’ve been a bad shot. That hunt convinced me to let him apply for a New Mexico bull elk tag.





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